Scotland vs. England – Who Will Seize World Cup Qualification Points on Saturday?
Glasgow’s Hampden Park plays host to a battle between old rivals on Saturday, as Scotland and England meet in the next installment of their World Cup qualifying campaigns. So how has each team fared so far in the initial stages of football’s most famous competition and who is likely to triumph this weekend?
World Cup Qualifier – Can Strachan’s Lads Get Revenge for Their Wembley Defeat?
When the Scots last met the Three Lions, at Wembley in November 2016, they failed to capitalise on the opportunities that they created and lost by 3-0. Far from being discouraged by that, however, Gordon Strachan, told the Telegraph that his team had played well and the result was “unfair.”
“Everything we did was correct and we actually had better chances than them up to the point of the second goal, so we take a lot from that game,” he said.
The chances of Scotland making it to Russia to try to claim the most famous football trophy in the world were looking slim following the match. They were lying in fifth place on the Group F table, with just four points to their name. However, in March 2017, Strachan’s men managed to secure a 1-0 win against Slovenia to move them up into fourth place, ahead of Lithuania and Malta, and keep their World Cup dreams alive.
Strachan is hoping that the team’s current positivity, together with the backing of the home crowd, will help them to secure another win on Saturday. Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, he noted that “people are in good form and we must use that, use their enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of the crowd.”
Making it to the final stages of the competition will be a tough ask for the Scots. Only the winners of each group go through automatically, while the eight “best” runners-up (as determined by points scored, followed by goal difference, then goals scored) go through to a further play-off stage. However, with four more qualifying matches to go after Saturday’s tie, there’s still time for them to shine.
Scotland vs England – Will Southgate Lead the Three Lions to Glory?
The Three Lions’ qualifying campaign is still going strong. They’re currently at the top of the group table with 13 points, four ahead of second-placed Slovakia, raising fans’ hopes that they could go straight through to the tournament’s final stage.
Gareth Southgate is clearly taking no chances when it comes to ensuring his squad members are well-prepared to face the Scots on Saturday, however. He recently put the players’ physical fitness and psychological strength to the test, by taking them to the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, for a two-day boot camp experience.
According to Jermain Defoe, the boot camp provided the ideal opportunity for the team to bond.
“No phones, doing everything together, the whole experience was so unique, camping out with rations,” he told the BBC.
The players also attempted the training centre’s famous endurance course while they were there.
Having won four and drawn one of their first five qualifying matches, England will surely be favourites for the win. However, the Scots will be desperate to boost their qualification prospects so, if luck is on their side, their passion to succeed could help them to secure a surprise victory.
What’s your match prediction? Do you think England or Scotland could win the 2018 FIFA World Cup? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a comment below.